Calder Valley Community Land Trust

Jan 2018

January newsletter now out. Also available: Dec newsletter. Oct newsletterSep newsletterMay newsletter, April newsletter, March newsletter  and our February newsletter.

An invitation: CLT social on Mon 5th Feb

We’re inviting our members and supporters to an informal social event on Monday February 5th, at 6pm in the Hebden Bridge Town Hall café/bar.  Light refreshments will be available.

The event is designed to give you an update on the CLT’s progress and in particular to let you see our new Community Shares ‘pledge’ leaflet.  

We are putting in place all the things that need to be done in order to be ready to launch a £500,000 community shares issue in the summer, to help provide investment capital for our proposed High Street development in Hebden Bridge. The ‘pledge’ leaflet is the first in a series of steps we will be taking in the period up to then.  More info at the event.

Wanted: ‘ambassadors’ for the CLT

We’ll be saying more on Feb 5th about this, but we are keen to know from CLT members/friends if they would consider becoming an ‘ambassador’ for the share issue – mentioning it to friends, for example, and taking small stocks of the leaflet. (Actually we’re not sure whether ‘ambassadors’ or ‘champions’ is the better term to use, but you get the general idea). Before the summer we want as many people locally to know of our plans, and we’re looking to widen the network of people who already know what the CLT is trying to achieve.

Our homework over the Christmas period…

… was to complete massive quantities of paperwork from Homes England (previously Homes & Communities Agency) to enable us to apply for ‘Registered Provider’ status and to draw down government grant funding which is delivered through Homes England for new affordable housing.  We got there: the form (plus business plan, 5 year financial projections etc etc) is submitted and we wait for the (lengthy) period of assessment. 

The good news is that we have already successfully jumped through other hoops and are now recognised by Homes England as an ‘Investment Partner’.

Allocation policy

The trustees met for an ‘awayday’ on the first Sunday in January, and among other things discussed the CLT’s approach to allocations – not an immediate issue at the moment, but one which will obviously be really important when we have our first homes built and ready for their occupants.

The detailed allocation policy is being worked on (and we welcome input). We have agreed however that we will be aiming to prioritise people most in housing need, and who have a local connection. We will be seeking to develop mixed communities in CVCLT’s properties, for people from all walks of life. We want our eventual policy to be fair, transparent, simple, scalable (as we grow) and of course legally watertight.

Thank you, town council

We very gratefully acknowledge a £4500 grant from Hebden Royd Town Council, which we will be putting towards the expenses of promoting the community share issue. The interest which councillors have shown in what we’re doing is really appreciated.

And thank you, new members

We continue to recruit new members, including one new member who gave us a particularly generous donation (and they ticked the Gift Aid box too!).  We are a member-controlled society and charity, and we think this is important not only in terms of accountability and democracy but also in ensuring that what the CLT is proposing is in line with community desires and aspirations.

Planning permission granted for Walsden development

We are delighted to be able to let you know that we have just heard from Calderdale council that we have been successful in receiving planning permission for the CLT’s first development: six bungalows designed for independent living for older people in Birks Lane, Walsden, which will be made available at levels of rent which are affordable. 

Three years after the CLT was first discussed and established, we’re now at last on our way!

Here is a drawing from the architects of how the bungalows will look.

We hope to be in a position to award the construction contract early in the New Year.

And a thank you to the Quakers too

We have also very recently had some good news from the Quaker Housing Trust, who have awarded us a £20,000 grant towards the Walsden development. There has been great interest in the CLT from Quakers locally, and we appreciate their help in enabling us to make the Walsden development a reality.

And meanwhile in Hebden Bridge

We are continuing with the feasibility work necessary on the site in Hebden Bridge (the street known as High Street or Stoney Lane, off the Heptonstall Road) where we hope to build around 23 one, two and three bedroomed flats for rent. This development is geared particularly towards local young people trying to find somewhere to live. Detailed surveys of the ground conditions are being undertaken, and we have also commissioned (among other things) the necessary drainage and ecological surveys. And, worst luck, we have found that there is a Japanese Knotweed plant in one corner of the site that we’ll have to remove.

More news soon. Our aim is to progress our plans sufficiently to be able to put in for planning permission in the Spring.

Public meetings on housing in Hebden Bridge

As part of the work we’re undertaking to prepare for the Community Shares issue, we are planning a series of public meetings in Hebden Bridge in the Spring, looking at the housing crisis nationally and locally, and what communities like ours can do about it.  More details soon.

Todmorden’s Fielden Hall improvements

We applaud the work being undertaken by the Fielden Centre Association (the charity which manages the Fielden Hall in Todmorden) to improve the storage arrangements in the main hall. As the Fielden Hall′s legal custodian, we work closely with the FCA to ensure that this wonderful community facility is used to its fullest capacity.

Membership update

Thank you to people who have joined as members of the CLT recently. We now have 80 members. (If you′re not a member, the application form is on our website).

The government seems to like us

Not us personally, you understand, but the network of community land trusts and community development trusts working hard to bring about the housing which local neighbourhoods needs. Community-led housing is the current buzzword, and we’re pleased that the government has finally announced plans to help fund the movement. The money involved isn’t enormous, but it is a start.